Press Release
February 19, 2009

Women travel execs endorse Gordon's HEAP bill

To regain the country's status as the educational hub of Asia that would bring more tourists into the country, women travel executives have endorsed Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon's Health and Education Acceleration Program (HEAP) bill.

Gordon, author of the HEAP bill, as logged as Senate Bill 2402, was assured of the executives support during the induction of new officers of the Women in Travel (WIT) - Manila, an organization of women executives of travel-related companies..

"Let us rally behind this bill and get it approved because nobody is going to give it (better educational and health system) to the poor. We can no longer afford to believe the promises of politicians, we have to get it done and we got to get involved," he said in his keynote address.

"I would like so see you out there, my friends, and tap every senator or congressman to get the HEAP bill approved. Though this would be a new endeavor, it would be very worthwhile," he added.

WIT is an organization of women executives of travel-related companies, such as airlines, travel agencies, hotels, resorts, and car rentals among others.

Aside from WIT - Manila, the organization has chapters in Zamboanga, Cebu, Bacolod and Davao. WIT - Manila , presently, has 50 women executives as members.

Gordon has filed the HEAP bill to resolve the critical condition of the country's educational and health care systems in the more than 43,000 public schools nationwide, with its staggering shortage in classrooms, school facilities and educational materials, the shortage of teachers in public schools, and the dismal performance of students.

The country currently suffers from an existing backlog of 9,754 classrooms at the cost of P7.31 billion; 4,121,009 school seats at P4.12 billion; 63,178,377 textbooks at P4.21 billion; 39,762 teachers at P5.28 billion and an additional P79 million for their training; and 8,499 principals at P1.66 billion

Records indicated that the educational system has become so dismal that the country's top four universities - UP, De La Salle, Ateneo de Manila and University of Sto. Tomas - now rank lower than universities in Thailand , Malaysia , India and Indonesia .

Gordon's HEAP bill proposes to require telecommunication companies to remit part of their multi-billion annual net revenue from local text messaging to augment government resources to fund the country's educational and health care requirements.

These funds shall be earmarked for the construction of classrooms, computer and science laboratories, clean cafeterias and school facilities for Filipino schoolchildren's wholistic development; acquisition of books, desks, chairs and instruction materials; hiring of teachers, regular conduct of teacher-training programs, and augmentation of teachers' pay, among others.

Gordon pointed out that improving the Philippine educational and health system would also benefit the travel industry because it would entice more foreigners into the country to further their education.

"It makes me sad that we were once Asia's No. 1 and now we have become Asia 's used to be. We have been left behind by our other Asian neighbors. But we can still get back on our feet if we improve our educational and health system," he said.

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